Sleeping Car Onkaparinga

Victorian and South Australian Railways

Broad Gauge


Class operators: South Australian Railways/Victorian and South Australian Railways

Condition: Excellent

Provenance: South Australian Railways/Victorian & South Australian Railways

Ownership: Port Dock Station Railway Trust

Built by: Victorian Railways Newport Workshop, Victoria

Number in class: 14

Entered service: 16th June 1911

Condemned: 19th October 1972

Entered the museum: 6th June 1988

Length (over coupling points): 75’ (22.86 metres)


Fourteen sleeping cars were built between 1906 and 1923 at the Victorian Railways Newport Workshops for use on the nightly express between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The first four cars were named Lodden, Glenelg, Finniss and Torrens, after rivers in the states of Victoria and South Australia. In 1911 Onkaparinga and Barwon were built, followed by Baderloo, Dargo, Pekina and Tambo in 1919. The last four cars, named Angas, Coliban, Acheron and Inman entered service in 1923.

Internal layout comprised nine compartments, each with two fold up lateral sleeping berths, a folding wash basin and cloth hanging cupboards. A small smoking saloon at one end of the car was known as the Gentlemen’s lounge, and had four loose, leather covered, cane arm chairs and a fixed seat for three. Two compartments at the opposite end of the coach were reserved for ladies.

Finished in style, the carved panelling, pressed metal ceiling, frosted glass and lamp pendants were all ornately decorated. A stylised waratah pattern was repeated throughout the design. Externally a row of bevelled mirrors, with an engraved star burst pattern, was placed above each window. The paint work was a red brown with elaborate outlining.

By 1936, the train had been named The Overland, so it was decided to paint the carriages dark green with a chrome ‘The Overland’ fitted above the centre windows. From 1943 repainting in standard Victorian Railways red began. Construction of modern steel rolling stock began in 1949 and resulted in the eventual withdrawal of the wooden carriages from The Overland. Onkaparinga was condemned in 1969 and sold with bogies, but missing most internal metal fittings to Marbury School, Aldgate. In 1988 it was donated to the Railway Museum.

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76 Lipson Street
Port Adelaide
South Australia  5015
Open Daily / 10am – 4:30pm





5-15 yrs & with an adult


2 adults & up to 3 children


  • Prices may vary for special events
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  • Closed Christmas Day

Phone: 8341 1690

The National Railway Museum acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country. We aim to respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.

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